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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union

The Eye-Opener

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Whoever the next mayor may be, one of the biggest issues they'll need to handle will be working out deals on all the expired labor union contracts, the Wall Street Journal points out today. Although it's not exactly breaking news, the issue hasn't been much of a headline-grabber during this campaign season of sex scandals and intimate revelations. Critics say that Democratic candidates have voiced little substance on the issue, while Republicans have taken a hard line. The issues include years of retroactive raises, and having employees pay a larger percent of their health coverage. The stakes are high - in the billions and lasting years - and other municipalities may look to the city as a model.

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NYPD Secretly Labeled Mosques As Terrorist Organizations

The New York Police Department has secretly been labeling mosques as terrorist organizations to allow it to spy on imams and have informants record sermons; in many cases without any evidence a crime had been committed according to a report from The Associated Press. The NYPD has labeled at least a dozen mosques this way to investigate them for terrorism. The investigations can last for years even without proof a crime has been committed and without any charges being brought. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly defended their actions. "What we do is we try to keep this city safe, totally consistent with what the laws require,” Bloomberg said. "We believe that we are compliant with those laws.” Arab American groups and civil liberties groups said they were horrified by the news and some have called for a federal investigation into the practice.

 


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Poll Shows De Blasio With BIg Lead (NY Times)

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The city asked a judge to put a freeze on her ruling that stop-and-frisk practices be overhauled and a monitor for the NYPD be installed until its appeal of the decision was heard. In the administration's request, numbers were cited showing a significant drop in the stops. Mayor Bloomberg will also begin making public weekly updates on crime statistics. Meanwhile, Commissioner Kelly announced that the number of people shot by police dropped to 18 this year compared with 22 at this point last year. In related news, the NYPD has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations.

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Push To Keep State's Teens Out Of Adult Court (City Limits)

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Councilman Brad Lander is proposing legislation aimed at cracking down on spending by outside groups in city races. Such "independent expenditures" exploded following the Citizens United court decision, which allows near-unlimited spending, as long as the groups don’t directly co-ordinate with campaigns. Lander's plan would close a loophole that allows corporations to spend lavishly on candidates through LLCs and require mailings and similar communications to include a notice outlining who paid for them.

Of particular concern to Lander is the real estate industry-backed "Jobs 4 NY" committee. It's already spent $1.35 million - including $167,000 in support of Brooklyn Councilwoman Sara González and $110,000 to back Paul Vallone in Queens - and aims to spend $10 million citywide. The PAC supports several council incumbents who are up for re-election, which might make it difficult to pass during an election year. But even some candidates who've received its support, like Brooklyn's Laurie Combo, say it's unwelcome and support Lander's proposal.

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De Blasio Once Supported Expanding Term Limits Too (Wall Street Journal)

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The media appears to be eyeing Public Advocate Bill de Blasio as the new frontrunner in the Democratic  mayoral primary race after some polls showed him in the lead up to the primary. The New York Times takes a look at his management style during Hilary Clinton's 2000 Senate race and finds he "could be agonizingly inefficient in a high-pressure, ever-shifting situation."WNYC says that De Blasio has been the city's "official gadfly" for the past three yearsbut that now he is trying to demonstrate "he also knows how to run things." Kenneth Lovett of the Daily News scrutinizes De Blasio's plan to raise city income tax on those making more than $500,000. He says it would need the blessing of the state and that insiders tell him that raising taxes "would have virtually no chance of passing in Albany next year."

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GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Has Passion, Little Cash (Albany Times Union)

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NYC Parents Will Get To See Students' Test Scores Online (NY Times)

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